Translation copyright © by Martin Aitken
The feeling could get the better of her in an unguarded moment. The cool, delicate champagne glass between her fingers, the hum of voices, and the light hand of her husband at her waist. Apart from being in love, only brief flashbacks of a distant childhood reminded her of it. The security of her grandmother’s chatter. Subdued laughter as she fell into a slumber. The laughter of people long since gone.
Nete pressed her lips together to stem the emotion. Sometimes it got the better of her.
She collected herself and gazed out upon the palette of colorful evening gowns and proud figures. The celebratory banquet in honor of the Danish recipient of the year’s Nordic Prize for Medicine had drawn many guests. Scholars, physicians, pillars of society. Circles into which she certainly hadn’t been born but in which she nevertheless had come to feel increasingly comfortable as the years passed.
She took a deep breath and was about to let out a contented sigh when she became acutely aware that a pair of eyes had latched onto her through the array of festive coiffures and men in tight bow ties. The inexplicable, unsettling charges of electricity only ever emitted by eyes that wished no good. Instinctively she moved aside, like a hunted animal seeking cover in undergrowth. She put her hand on her husband’s arm and tried to smile as her gaze flickered across the shimmer guests and the elegantly dressed of the candelabra.
A woman tossed back her head in a moment’s laughter, suddenly opening up a clear view to the rear end of the hall.
And there he stood.
His figure towered like a lighthouse above all the others. Despite the stooping posture and crooked legs, a great, strutting wild animal whose eyes swept over the crowd like a pair of searchlights.
Again she sensed his intense surveillance to the very core of her being and knew for certain that if she didn’t react now her entire life would collapse in seconds.
“Andreas,” she said, putting her hand to her throat, which was already sticky with perspiration. “Can’t we leave now? I’m not feeling well.”
Further entreaty was unnecessary. Her husband raised his dark eyebrows, nodded to those nearest, and turned away from the throng, taking her arm in his. It was typical of him, and she loved him for it.
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m afraid it’s my headache again.”
He nodded, all too familiar with the affliction himself. Long, dark evenings in the drawing room, his migraine pounding.
It was yet another thing they had in common.
As they approached the majestic staircase the tall man stole forward and stepped in front of them.
He looked much older now, she noted. The eyes that once had sparkled had lost their luster. His hair was unrecognizable. Twenty-five years had taken their toll.
“Nete, are you here? You’re the last person I would have expected to see in such company,” he said bluntly.
She stepped to one side and drew her husband past, but her stalker was undeterred. “Don’t you remember me
Praise for The Keeper of Lost Causes:
“The pages fly by as the twisty puzzle unfolds. Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[An] absorbing psychological thriller.” — Library Journal (starred review)
“Comparisons [to Stieg Larsson] are inevitable and, while he may lack a Salander, Adler-Olsen’s prose is superior to Larsson’s, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor.”— Booklist (starred review)
“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.” — The Oregonian